Monday, August 01, 2005

The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon

The past is another country. The modern developed world in which many of us are lucky to live represents the acme of modernity. We take for granted our technological conveniences, and regard as our birthright the affluence that we enjoy.
The miraculous recovery of the films of Mitchell & Kenyon shows another world; a world that existed very recently, almost within living memory.
We look at the grimy, bustling northern towns and marvel that life could ever have been so hard and unrelenting. What we forget is that the British working class in the Edwardian period were the best paid and most secure in the world. They had an absolute certainty in their position as citizens of the most economically developed and powerful nation on earth. That world would be shattered irrevocably with the outbreak of the First World war. The world they knew would soon be at one with Nineveh and Tyre: there would never be such innocence and confidence again.


Sniffy said...

Don't know about the Edwardian period, that looks pretty much like a modern-day Swinton Precinct.

It's strange how there seemed to be such optimism during that time, despite the relative poverty.

Are these the archives that were featured on the BBC News website last week?

garfer said...

I picked the photo up on a google image search. It could be BBC.
I suppose they were optimistic because their standard of living was so much higher than that of their parents.
They had their footie and beer and got a couple of weeks holiday every year.
The kids are dressed as minature adults, although I suppose we can say the same about the label draped 6 year olds of today.

Herge Smith said...

Yeah, that's kinda weird ennit?

I suppose it changed in the 50s/ early 60s when kids 'rebelled' from being miniture adults, which they saw as repressive and old fashioned. But now it's gone full circle, with our generation refusing to become repressive and old fashioned to the detriment of society - plus all these fucking mutters all dress the same.

Bizarre. Well, if I ever kids I'm immediately gonna become repressive and old fashioned. Bollocks to this trying to reason with my kids - DO IT OR ELSE. That's the line that I will be using.

Those movies creep me out - like watching hundreds of ghosts.

Sniffy said...

I think you're right Herge. Kids need to be told what to do - they can't deal with choices because their minds aren't developed that way.

I think back then, in "them days", entire towns shut down and went on holidays to the seaside together. This was because the towns were essentially owned by a couple of industrialist who employed everybody. Seemed to work quite well and helped bring about good community spirit.

Sniffy said...

Oh Garfer, I keep meaning to say how much I really enjoy your blog. It's so well thought out and well-written. Brilliant stuff. Thanks.

garfer said...

I think I'll grow one of those Edwardian handlebar taches and purchase a stout stick. The youth of today needs chastisement (or as Withnail would say: 'tutoring in the ways of righteousness').
I'm getting a bit stumped for inspiration at the moment. I try and mix things up a bit.

Herge Smith said...

Blimey, ain't we all. I've just been moaning about the same thing.

I also really love your blog, and really enjoy reading your posts.

You could write about anything and we'd find it a great read, so don't fret.

pissoff said...

There really should be more stout stick carrying people around nowadays. I might get myself one - it'd come in useful for whacking my kids with.

garfer said...

You could always get one of those electric cattle prods, or a tazer.
No more tantrums then I can tell you.

Sniffy said...

I really want a tazer.